Goran Ivanisevic has come out in defence of his ward, Novak Djokovic, saying the Serb had tried to do a ‘great thing, a humanitarian thing’ by hosting the Adria Tour.
The exhibition tournament, organized by the Novak Djokovic Foundation, came under heavy criticism after four players involved, including the World No 1, tested positive for Coronavirus.
“Everybody is smart now, and they are attacking Novak,” Ivanisevic, a former Wimbledon champion told The New York Times.
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“He tried to do a great thing, a humanitarian thing. We were locked down for three months. He organized this tour. The players came in Belgrade and we had good tennis and a good atmosphere. Everything in Serbia and everything in Croatia was done with the recommendations by the government.”
At the tournament, scheduled to be played over four Balkan cities, no one seemed to follow social distancing protocols.
‘No one was forced’
The world watched in amazement as pictures and videos of players high-fiving, hugging and indulging in basketball and football exhibitions on the sidelines kept circulating. The final nail, perhaps, were videos of the players partying in an indoor club.
“OK, maybe you didn’t need this,” Ivanisevic agreed.
“But they are all individuals. Nobody forced anybody to come into that club. Nobody forced anybody to dance. Nobody can tell you to go on the stage, take your shirt off and dance.
Congratulations. Such leadership 🤦🏽♂️ https://t.co/rHWpMC7tqD
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 22, 2020
“And how do you know anyone even got infected at that party?”
The tournament was called off on Sunday, just ahead of the final in Zadar, Croatia, when Grigor Dimitrov revealed on social media that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Since then Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki and Djokovic have tested positive for the virus, along with two support staff.